With 2017 coming to a close, our editors have looked back at the games that released throughout the year. While this year may have brought us many great games, these are the ones we consider to be the absolute best.
Super Mario Odyssey
This one was very difficult for me. 2017 was an amazing year for video games and there were so many fantastic choices across a diverse array of genres. There is another reason why this choice is so hard for me this year. The Legend of Zelda is my favorite video game franchise of all time and I absolutely adore Breath of the Wild. That said, I think I have to give it to Mario this year. I have long argued that Nintendo makes the best first party games and this entry proves my point. The controls are flawless; I have never encountered any other platformer which had such intuitive controls. Nintendo’s exemplary level design continues to show other developers how it is done. Best of all, areas such as New Donk City breathe new life into the Mario formula with fresh visuals and gameplay opportunities.
Honorable Mentions: Cuphead, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Resident Evil 7
2017 was pretty dull for Xbox owners such as myself, but there were still plenty of multiplat and backwards compatible games to enjoy. One video game in particular was the highlight of the year for me. Funnily enough I had never partaken in this genre of game before, but the hype surrounding this game got me. With the reveal that the title would be a Xbox Play Anywhere title, I caved and pre-ordered. The game that gets my Game of the Year praise is Resident Evil 7.
Serving as a soft reboot to the series, Resident Evil 7 offered an entry point to gamers new to the series. Unlike Final Fantasy 15, it offered a satisfying experience that will make gamers come back to the franchise whenever it gets a sequel. Like I mentioned before, I had never taken a part of the horror genre in gaming before. The fact that I took on RE7 and conquered it was an unforgettable experience. Although the game opens up with you being completely hopeless and just fleeing for your life, you quickly gain the strength to fight back. It gives you the courage to continue and trains you to face even darker horrors later on in the story. The game had amazing combat and the atmosphere was amazing. Overall Resident Evil 7 just offered a complete package and one that I will never forget.
With Capcom delivering a memorable RE7 experience, releasing an Okami HD port on Xbox, Monster Hunter coming to more consoles other than Nintendo, Megaman on the horizon, a Street Fighter collection, and a rumored Devil May Cry sequel, I believe they are on track to pull ahead and become a beloved publisher once more.
Honorable Mentions: Cuphead, Injustice 2
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn marked a clear evolution in open world game design where no action or quest was meaningless. The story was as epic and at times mind-blowing as it gets. The actual gameplay was flat out awesome and the graphics are the bar for which many future games will strive for. This game had it all and was completely satisfying from start to finish. It may be, at the time of release, the pinnacle of open world RPGs to date (honors may be shared by Witcher 3 with an edge to Horizon due to the crisp gameplay which was probably Witcher 3’s weakest point [especially when talking about combat]).
There is a maturity in vision and craftsmanship that I think only Naughty Dog and Kojima have also mastered, and a demonstration of sheer production mastery. Very few games have such a clear and easily approachable vision. This is not only my GOTY, but it may have edged into my top ten of all time.
Honorable mentions (there were a lot of great games this year that I was able to play): Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, What Remains of Edith Finch, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (my number two pick this year), Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Empathy: Path of Whispers, Elex, The Darkside Detective
Destiny 2 is my game of the year. I don’t own a Switch so I never had a chance to enjoy some of those great games. Yet what I do get to enjoy is a game that is always evolving. Bungie could have easily ignored the players and never tried to change the broken XP system this game has. How could you not be so happy with a developer that actually takes feedback and uses it in a constructive way?
Destiny 2 takes players to a few new worlds and forces them to play. The game is getting better each week with new content and events. It helps that I can play this game with my wife.
Honorable Mentions: Jydge, Wolfenstien II: The New Colossus, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
For those who are not familiar with Danganronpa, it is a franchise that started with a murder mystery adventure game with real time action elements. While the series is good in general, Danganronpa V3 is a masterpiece. Mysteries that seem straightforward at first are actually rather complex and interesting. Each investigation has a number of very convincing red herrings which makes for really entertaining trials. Even outside of the core murder mysteries, the game uses the player’s expectations against them to create an absolutely delightful experience. Of course, this entry retains the franchise’s surreal aesthetic which is just as captivating as ever. Even the sound design is top-notch this time around.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony also has the best gameplay in the series. All of the frustrating elements of the previous games have been removed. Some returning mini-games also feature new mechanics that make them more engaging. This entry also includes a massive amount of post-game content that is fairly entertaining on its own. Not only is this the best game I have played all year, it earned the highest score of any game I have reviewed for the site.